The Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government (MHCLG) is currently putting new regulations before parliament (see link below) with the objective of keeping the pressure on rogue landlords. In a bold move to crack down on overcrowding and dangerous living conditions experienced by a minority of tenants in HMO’s, MHCLG want to make life as difficult as possible for those landlords who will not follow the rules.
Local councils are being encouraged to inspect more and more properties, with new powers to tackle that minority of rogue landlords who rent out overcrowded or dangerous properties. Councils will be able to impose fines of up to £30,000 for non-compliant landlords.
From the 1st October this year the regulations will empower councils to specifying minimum bedroom sizes, and they will be given the necessary powers to quickly enforce those limits, with the now expanded mandatory HMO licensing scheme setting down these and a host of other conditions:
- Floor area of any room HMOs used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged over 10 years is not less than 6.51 square metres;
- Floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by two persons aged over 10 years is not less than 10.22 square metres;
- Floor area of any room in the HMO used as sleeping accommodation by one person aged under 10 years is not less than 4.64 square metres;
- Any room in the HMO with a floor area of less than 4.64 square metres cannot is not used as sleeping accommodation.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler has said about the new measures:
“Everyone deserves a decent and safe place to live. But some tenants are being exploited by a minority of unscrupulous landlords who profit from renting out cramped and sometimes squalid or dangerous properties.”
“Today’s measures will mean landlords must provide adequate space for their tenants or face a hefty fine. It is part of a raft of new powers for councils to crack down on rogue landlords and comprehensive action we are taking to improve conditions for private tenants.”
With recent cases of tenants suffering health issues due to accommodation that does not meet relevant size or health & safety standards, local authorities under the proposed legislation would be able to set a deadline of up to 18 months for the situation to be rectified.